• Joshua Buck

Rocketman (2019) Vs. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.

The story of the legendary British rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985).

Today I bring you something completely new aside from my regular review. I bring you the Vs. series. In this series, I bring to movies that I believe are similar and I compare the two to find out which one I believe is the better of the two movies. I will break the movies down into categories and then I will give a point to the film that I believe is better of the two in said category. For example, if I think the cinematography is better in Rocketman over Bohemian Rhapsody. The winner gets 1 point towards the tally at the end.

The two movies I bring in comparison to you today is Rocketman (2019) and Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). Both movies had very different successes Bohemian Rhapsody won an Academy Award of Best Actor in (2018) for Rami Mallick’s performance of Freddie Mercury but other than that failed to please critics. Meanwhile, the similar film Rocketman received Academy nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, however, Rocketman received better critical reviews. This leads us to the question of which was deemed more successful. To me, I think Rocketman had better critical success and the film also resonated with audiences a lot more and that is why I think it is one point to Rocketman on this one.

Next up is what I thought of the story both films had a similar execution of starting towards the end of the movie and flashing back to Elton Johns and Freddie Mercury’s earlier lives and it all builds up to one major event in their lives. Another similarity in these two movies was that both protagonists had a love interest in the movie that ended up being the villain. Now, this raises the question of which movie better executed the villain twist. For me, it has to be Rocketman again because not only does it make the twist more satisfying because John Reid, played by Richard Madden, was more cunning and successful than Paul Prenter in Bohemian Rhapsody who seemed to just be clutching at Freddie Mercury’s side because he like the limelight. It is for this reason that it has to be another point to Rocketman for a more complex villain and a better well-rounded script that felt like it had higher stakes. Its another point to Rocketman on this one.

The acting in both movies Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody are phenomenal. However, one movie won the Best Actor Oscar for its performance and the other did not. Bohemian Rhapsody for Rami Maleks performance of Freddie Mercury and it was so spot on and I thought he deserved his Oscar, however; I do think that it was a weak year for the Oscars. But I cannot argue that the scene where Freddie Mercury finds out about Live Aid in the rain is brilliantly acted and that this was the films Oscar scene. I also believed that performances of actors of smaller roles were acted better take Gwylim Lees performance as Brian May as an example as to how a supporting role in Bohemian Rhapsody was better than any in Rocketman. Rocketman although terrifically acted by Taron Egerton and I believe his performance was more well rounded to what the director envisioned for the theme of the movie. It is Rami Maleks biopic performance that wins it for me.

Rocketman had a problem with its costume department as most of Elton Johns clothes that he wore under copyright so they couldn’t actually be used in the movie so the costume department had the issue of recreating the costumes that kind of replicated what Elton John wore at the time. They captured the flamboyancy of Elton John and thought it aided the story well and especially the film's genre as more of a fantasy. Bohemian Rhapsody had possibly an easier time as it more just had to create a time piece with the costumes of an era and I think it did it perfectly. They even had to use costumes to signify his sexuality. For that, I have to give the costume round to Bohemian Rhapsody as it helps further our understanding of the world of the film. One point to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Now for the most controversial part of this Vs. series comparing the music of the two. Comparing the music. Now as a disclosure I am not comparing who made the better music Queen or Elton John. I am looking at simply the way the movies used the songs better. I think Bohemian Rhapsody did an outstanding job with its works on lip-syncing the vocal of Freddie Mercury to Rami Malek and the Live Aid performance at the end of the movie really did make it feel like you were there and the film really did celebrate their music. However, Rocketman went a different route, instead, they had Taron Egerton actually sing Elton Johns songs and the songs weren’t necessarily in order of when they came out but instead opted to use the songs in specific moments of the characters life like a musical so the audience understands how Elton John was feeling at that particular time. It is for this reason that I think Rocketman used the music to tell the story a lot better. That is why Rocketman gets this point.

So, we come to the end. Whilst both films had things that I believed were better than the others at. Bohemian Rhapsody had notably the Best performance with an Oscar to merit it but lacked in other areas such as its execution of the music but the winner with 3 points to 2 is and won the first of this series is Rocketman.

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